|I Told You So|
|Gap-Filler for Episode 2-14|
|Photos Copyright Showtime 2002|
Gary gave me the night off so I can finish my project for Professor Arthur. I’ve fallen behind in all my classes, go-go dancing turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. I mean, usually I can dance by myself or with Brian for hours and never feel tired, but there’s something different about being ‘on,’ being watched every minute. It’s exhausting.
Brian doesn’t understand. If he did, he’d stop harassing me about being tired all the time. I try to hide it, I don’t know how he can tell. I can’t stand the nagging, it’s like being home with my dad. When I told him that, he got pissed. He hates anything that reminds him that he’s so much older than me. Usually I don’t even think about it, but if I want to annoy him, making age jokes always works.
Brian keeps trying to give me money for school. He doesn’t realize that I just can’t let him do any more for me. I need to be an equal partner in our relationship, if he starts thinking of me as a responsibility, some kid he has to take care of, we could be doomed. It’s bad enough I live in his loft rent-free. He lets me buy a few groceries sometimes, Mom brings us food, Deb sends food home with me from the diner. And I make enough at the diner to pay all my school expenses, except tuition. PIFA is majorly expensive.
He doesn’t want me to go to Gary’s party. He didn’t exactly say it, but he made it pretty clear. I don’t know why he hates Gary so much, Gary’s just a horny older guy. Sometimes he’ll squeeze my shoulder or pat my ass, but he hasn’t come on to me again since that first time. I don’t know if I’d let him blow me again or not – I don’t think so. But I hope I don’t have to find out.
Gary promised I won’t have to do anything at the party, he says he just likes to have a few pretty boys around for decoration. It can’t be any worse than dancing on the bar in my underwear. It’ll probably just be a bunch of old guys drinking and watching porn. Bo-ring. I’m glad there’ll be other young guys there besides me, I’ll have somebody to talk to. It’s only for a few hours anyway.
No doubt about it, I hate seeing Justin dance on the bar at Babylon. I've been acting like it's okay, like it doesn't bother me, but fuck, it does bother me. The first time he did it, I was embarrassed. Everybody knows Justin belongs to me. And I was embarrassed that he was up there on a platform wiggling his ass around so guys could shove money into his underwear. I felt like people were laughing at him. And the outfit Sap gave him to wear - angel wings, for fuck sake. Jesus. I took one look at him and had to get out of there.
When he came home that night and announced that he'd be dancing on the bar, I knew what he'd done. Everybody knew, even Michael, who's a few months older than me but about a million times more naïve than even Justin. I didn't blame Justin; I know how it works, and I guess he was feeling desperate, but what sticks in my throat and nearly chokes me is the fact that I can easily help him with college. It's no big deal to me, I've got plenty stashed away. The Pool Boy bonus paid off the mortgage on my loft, and I've been putting money aside for emergencies - I never really thought about doing that before the mess with Kip Thomas, but since then, I've built up a stash. Besides that, I started a college fund for Gus, though nobody knows about it yet.
No matter what I tried, I couldn't get Justin to let me help him with school expenses. In a way I understand how he feels; I remember how I felt when Henri gave me my first silk shirt. Pride warring with desire. And I can respect him not wanting handouts from anybody. But the thing is, I'm not 'anybody,' damn it. He's the one always telling me I'm not 'just anybody,' but he won't let me help. I even told him it could be a loan, and still he refused.
The absolute worst thing about this go-go boy shit was when he announced tonight he was going to an after-hours party at Gary Sapperstein’s place. I almost told him he couldn’t go – but quickly I pulled up short on that. I have no right to tell him what to do, he’s a man now. In most ways, he’s as much a man as anybody I know. But he’s still too trusting, he still believes the best of people. He won’t learn anything different from me telling him. He’s got to experience it for himself.
I had to let him go to the party. To find his own way, to make his own decisions. But Christ, it was hard, pulling on my boots, grabbing my jacket and kissing him goodbye. Turning my back and walking out the door, knowing he was going to be sorry he agreed to go. I did ask him to take his cellphone, to call if he needed me to come pick him up later. He smiled at me and gave a little wave, but when I tried calling just now, I found out that his cell is turned off.
So fuck it, and fuck him. Let him learn for himself the type of man Gary Sapperstein is, the kind of ‘friends’ he surrounds himself with. I just hope to Christ he doesn’t let anybody fuck him. Or get so hammered that he. . . Well, here comes Ted, he looks miserable, as usual. Mikey’s supposed to meet us here soon. I need another drink. A few more drinks. A lot more drinks. Maybe then I can forget about the Sap’s party.
The party turned out to be sleazy after all. Brian was right. I don't really want to tell him about it, for lots of reasons. Brian's not the jealous type, but I know he’d be pissed if he found out what the Sap tried to do. And I sure as fuck don't want to listen to him saying 'I told you so.'
Besides, I can take care of myself. And I did, didn't I? I wanted to leave and I left. I just wish I could remember how I got home.
I was wasted, really wasted. But I wasn't afraid, not for a moment. Not afraid. Just kind of. . .wary. Almost nervous. Definitely nervous. Especially seeing this kid - I think his name's Billy - seeing him in the sling with all those guys gathered around him, doing things. I'm not naïve and I've been to the baths with Brian, I know about slings and that some guys like them. But I wasn't sure that Billy really wanted to do that.
Gary shared a joint with me, asked me to take my shirt off. It was good shit, really strong, and I didn't mind taking off my shirt, after all, I knew I was at the party as eye candy. Yet when Gary reached over to pinch my nipple, I didn't like it. I had a few more hits from the joint, but it was burning my throat. When Gary's friend came over and said I needed a drink, I intercepted a look between the two men. I don't know what it meant, but that's when I started feeling nervous. But then they went away, left me alone, so I figured I imagined the whole thing.
It was late and I was tired, what I really wanted was to be home in bed, but Gary had asked me to stay a few hours. So when I saw some guys snorting coke, I decided to do a line. Just one, just enough to energize me. The coke was different than I'd experienced before, as soon as I snorted it, I started getting dizzy. The colors of the room started tilting and swirling into each other. I shook my head a few times to clear it, but that only made things worse. When Gary came over and handed me a glass of water, I took a grateful gulp. It tasted funny.
Things are kind of blurry after that. I know he put his arms around me, turned me around near the sling, and asked if I wanted to try it. I said no, or anyway, I think I said no, but I was laughing, laughing, and getting dizzier and dizzier. Somebody hugged me from behind, and I think somebody else shoved something under my nose - I don't think it was poppers, because I sort of remember almost falling down after I sniffed it. The last thing I remember at all clearly is Gary on his knees trying to take off my pants. I kicked him, I’m pretty sure I raised up my knee and kicked him in the face. I can see a picture of myself doing that, but it's fuzzy. Somehow I got out of there, out of Gary's loft. I don't remember going down the stairs, and I have only vague memories of a black night sky filled with stars swirling around my head. And I remember being cold - I'd left his place without my shirt or my jacket. That was one of my favorite jackets, too.
Somehow I got home. I remember wishing that Brian would be there, I felt like Brian would take care of me. Totally wimped out on myself at the very end, but luckily he wasn't home. I kind of collapsed on the bed and woke up a little later later, my head pounding and my body shivering uncontrollably. I managed to make it into the bathroom in time to throw up in the toilet, then turned on the shower full blast and let the steamy heat cascade over my head and shoulders for what seemed like hours. Finally I got warm just before the hot water ran out, toweled off and climbed back in the bed, pulled the duvet over me, and went right to sleep.
I didn't wake up till almost ten this morning. Brian had not come home. I was pissed about that, but it was tempered by being glad he had not been there to see what condition I was in the night before. At least now I could be morally superior, and give him a bad time for not following the rules.
Sometime while I was sleeping, I'd made up my mind to accept Brian's offer of a loan. It won't be so bad. I can't go on with these late hours, I'm fucking up school, and it's the second most important thing in my life. So I'll swallow my pride. And I know Brian will never hold it against me, he'll never make me feel bad that I couldn't do it on my own.
But Brian doesn't need to know about my adventure at Gary's. Nothing happened, and I'm not going to work for him any more, so it's no big deal. Yeah, I think it's better if Brian doesn't find out. He’d only say, ‘I told you so.’
Blinking my eyes to force them open, I wrestled the suffocating duvet and managed to pull and push it off me, kicking it to the floor. Then I stretched languidly, absently rubbing my hard-on. Where was my boy, damn it, why wasn't he in bed with me? I struggled to rise on my elbows and spotted him, glued – no surprise - to his computer, totally lost inside whatever drawing he was creating. I watched him for a moment, thinking about the way he'd fucked me this morning. I've taught him well, but I can't take all the credit, he's a natural. Guess I should feel lucky he doesn't insist on fucking me more often.
Getting fucked is not high on my list of sex play. It can be enjoyable - and it was, with Justin this time; but I get more pleasure doing almost anything else. It was ages before I let him do me the first time, and then he caught me by surprise, so hammered that I couldn't offer up much resistance. Remembering that night a few weeks ago, remembering the feeling of Justin struggling to force me to roll over, starts a low rumbling laugh deep in my chest; it turns into a cough, and I see Justin's head fly up, see him glance toward the bedroom and those incredible blue eyes hone in on me like a fucking laser beam. That look jolts me, always. Always has, though I would have died rather than admit it until just a few months ago.
"Hey!" I shout at him now, "Get over here and give me a hand, I have a problem." I see him glance at my dick, I’m waving it at him suggestively.
That smile, cocky and yet somehow sweet, somehow still innocent - when nobody knows better than I do that Justin is not an innocent babe. He jumps up and hurries to the bed and I reach out to grab him, but he takes my outstretched hand in both of his and pulls. I'm dead weight though, and we play tug-of-war for a few moments. "Come to bed," I insist.
"No, get up, get up, do you know what time it is?"
"Yeah," I give him my dirtiest leer, "It's time to fuck your ass." I pull harder and he slips an inch closer to the bed
"Bri-an!" He makes my name sound like two words when he's harassing me. "It's almost five o'clock, we're supposed to be there at six. Get up!"
"Be where?" Oh yeah, the munchers. Sunday dinner with the munchers. I groan, "No."
"Get up," he insists, pulling harder, and I give in to him, letting him pull me off the bed and nearly onto the floor, before I decided to cooperate and get my legs underneath me. I reach for him but he backs quickly away. "Wow, you're ripe!" His smile takes away the sting. And anyway he's right, I can smell myself. "Get in the shower!"
Hmm, I think, fucking me has apparently given him delusions of power. He seems very full of himself today. Then I remember last night, remember how worried I had been about him going to that asshole's 'private party.' Which was of course why I got drunk as a skunk. I need to find out what happened, but I don't want to ruin his mood of confidence right now. It's sexy. Hot.
"Come with me, wash my back." He starts to shake his head and I add, "I'll let you suck my cock."
With a laugh Justin pushes me through the bathroom door. "Later! I already had a shower, and gelled my hair and everything. I need you to hurry up, so we have time to stop somewhere for flowers." He always insists on taking something, usually flowers, to Lindsay and Mel. I stop at the sink to brush my teeth, and notice that Justin's stripping the bed. I'm sure it's just as ripe as me.
"Wait and I'll help you," I call through a mouthful of mint paste. It's hard to make that bed alone, I like the ledge around the edge but it definitely makes changing the sheets a two-man operation. And the cleaning service comes twice a week but not on Sundays. Justin quickly acquiesces and moves over to lean in the doorway, watching me brush my teeth. He used to worry that the cleaning woman would be shocked by the condition of our bed, and he was embarrassed if she was there when we were home, though he always tried to hide it.
What's he hiding about last night, I wonder? What happened to make him change his mind about accepting a loan? And how can I find out with giving him the third degree?
I can tell that Justin's just as eager to pin me down about my own adventures last night, and it will be a good story to tell him. But I'm not going to make it easy - it’ll be fun to see how he tries to finesse me. Lindsay once said I enjoy being uncommunicative, and I guess she's right; I'm enjoying Justin's first tentative foray now.
"Smells like you slept in your car," he says, his opening gambit.
“That would have been more comfortable,” I answer cryptically, bending over the sink to gulp a mouthful of water, rinse and spit.
After my shower we pulled off the dirty sheets and Justin opened the linen drawer to get out some clean ones. I started rummaging through the pile of dirty clothes that had accumulated near the closet. I like the loft kept neat, but sometimes we get a little sloppy with our clothes.
Brian was picking up dirty clothes from the floor of the closet. Sometimes we’re lazy and leave them there for a day or two. Over his shoulder he asked, “What did you wear to the party?”
“My new blue tee,” I answered, without thinking. Oh-oh.
“The one that matches your eyes?”
“Umm.” He’d just bought that tee for me last week, he said it made me look hot.
“Did you leave it in the bathroom? It’s not here.”
“We can make the bed later, Brian, we’re going to be late.” I tossed the clean sheets on the foot of the bed and hurried down to the alcove where my study area is, next to the mural painting of the naked guy. I pretended to be busy stacking some papers and then carried an empty soda can to the kitchen.
I turned and saw Brian standing like a statue at the top of the bedroom steps. “Justin, where’s your blue tee?”
I just looked at him, trying to think of an answer. I can’t lie, Brian hates lying worse than anything in the world. “Umm,” I hesitated, then added, “I don’t exactly know.” It wasn’t a lie. Sure, I’d left my shirt at Gary’s loft, but I didn’t exactly know where it was right this minute.
He stared at me, one eyebrow raised. When I didn’t say anything else, he said, very calmly, “Justin, if you had sex at the party, that’s your business. I’m asking if you did, but you don’t have to tell me.”
“No,” I shook my head. “I mean,” I hurried to add, “I did not have sex at the party.”
Brian still hadn’t moved, and it was unnerving. Sometimes he looks so calm on the outside but you can almost feel his blood boiling on the inside. “So you came home from the party wearing only your jacket?”
I pulled my eyes away from that spotlight stare, opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. Over my shoulder I answered, “Yeah, more or less.”
“More or less?”
I unscrewed the cap and took a big gulp of water. Why was I feeling so guilty, I didn’t do anything?
Brian descended the steps and came over to stand beside me. He took the bottle from my hand and set it on the counter. “More or less?”
Suddenly I was getting angry. “Jesus, Brian, stop with the police interrogation already. I took off my shirt at the party, and I forgot it, that’s all.”
“Okay.” He nodded, turned away and went back to the bedroom, pulled on his leather jacket and grabbed his keys from the tall chest. With a silent inward sigh, I followed him.
“Grab a jacket, it’s cold,” and he glanced over his shoulder at me as he pulled open the loft door.
“I don’t need one with this heavy turtleneck,” I answered; I moved past him and started down the stairs.
Unwillingly I stopped, looked back at him.
“Where’s your new jacket?” When I didn’t answer, he raised an eyebrow. “Forgot your jacket too?”
“Yeah. Let’s go.” I turned away and hurried down the stairs.
Brian didn’t try to stop me again, but when we’d climbed into the jeep and fastened our seatbelts, he started the engine and turned to give me a smile. His scary, ‘gotcha’ smile.
“Let’s run by the Sap’s place, it’s right on the way to the munchers.’ We can pick up your shirt. And your jacket.”
Damn him. I felt trapped, strapped into the seat just inches away from those piercing eyes. Those deceptively relaxed, careless eyes, those eyes that sometimes looked right inside me almost to my naked skeleton.
“Brian.” I looked away, looked out the windshield, ran a hand over my face. “I just kind of left in a hurry last night. But I really don’t want to go back there today, okay?”
Brian took a deep breath and turned off the engine. From the corner of my eye I could see that he was also looking out the windshield. After a moment he said, “Tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
I released my seatbelt and turned to stare at his profile. “Brian,” I said earnestly, “Nothing happened. I just wasn’t having a good time, and I left in a hurry. I didn’t want to look around for my shirt or my jacket.”
“Mmm-hmm,” he nodded, still not looking at me. “How’d you get home?”
“You walked home, what – one mile, two? You walked home bare-chested in this weather. Because you weren’t having a good time at the party.”
“Brian – “
“Yes or no?”
He was silent a moment, then he turned to face me. “What aren’t you telling me? You have no idea the things I’m imagining.”
“Okay,” I gave in. “It was like you said it would be. The party – it was sleazy. Lots of sex, lots of drugs. I did some drugs, I got sick, I decided to come home and I left really fast. I just wanted to leave, that’s all. I forgot I wasn’t wearing a shirt till I got halfway home.”
Brian reached out and put a hand on the back of my neck and stared into my eyes. “You’re afraid I’ll say, ‘I told you so?’”
“Yes,” I agreed. “Basically.”
That made him smile, his crooked halfway smile. “Okay, I won’t say it. And I didn’t mean to give you a bad time. I just got kind of, I don’t know – “
“Nah,” he denied it. “I know you can take care of yourself. I just wondered about your shirt.”
I scrooched over and leaned in for a kiss. “Will you buy me a new one?”
“Fuck no!” Brian exclaimed, turning the key in the ignition and revving the engine. “Put on your seatbelt, I gotta drive fast, we’re fucking late.”
I’m sure I acted totally normal throughout dinner with Linds and Mel. I intercepted one or two inquiring looks from Lindsay, who sometimes can read my moods, but I ignored it and we had a great dinner. Lesbians, at least these two, are good cooks. It’s not their fault the food tasted like horseshit and was hard to swallow. I could feel my anger building, as much as I tried to keep it down. Tried to keep dinner down, too. Justin had a great time playing with Gus, the baby loves him, Justin gets down on the floor and talks at Gus' level.
I’ve had plenty of practice keeping my feelings in check, and I don’t think Justin realized anything was wrong. When we got back to the loft, he pushed open his car door and I said, “Oh shit, I’m low on gas. I’m going to go get some now, so I don’t have to rush in the morning.”
“I’ll come with you.”
I forced a laugh. “I think I can manage on my own. Don’t you need to finish your project tonight?”
“Yeah, okay, see you in a few.” Justin got out and slammed the door, gave me a wave and walked toward the elevator. Once he was out of the car, I could feel my anger building in earnest. I pulled out of the garage and headed uptown.
I was annoyed when Brian didn’t come right back home. I was sure he’d popped into Woody’s for a few drinks or to meet some of the guys. That was okay, of course; he’s always reminding me we’re not joined at the hip. Still, it bugged me, but I pushed aside thoughts of everything except finishing my project. When it was done, I saved to a disk and printed a final copy. I had just leaned back in my chair for a stretch before turning off the computer, when I heard the loft door open.
“Perfect timing,” I called over my shoulder, “I was just going to bed.”
“Good.” I heard Brian come up behind me and I swung my chair around. He was holding my tan jacket and my new blue tee, and he dropped them onto my lap. “But hang up your clothes first.”
I sat silent, dumbfounded, my mouth hanging open. He went up the stairs to the bedroom. I followed him and watched him peel off his jacket and hang it in the closet.
“What – what happened?”
“Nothing.” Brian turned around and began to unbutton his shirt. “I was going to hit him, or try to. I’m not much of a fighter any more. But I figured he needed to be hit.” Brian pulled off his shirt and threw it on the laundry pile.
Brian crossed his arms and regarded me solemnly. “Sap answered the door himself. I didn’t plan to say anything, just throw a punch or two. I don’t know exactly what happened at the party, and probably I don’t need to know – that’s your business. But I really wanted to hit him.”
I couldn’t stand it, I had to ask. “Well, did you? Did you hit him?”
Brian cracked a smile then, and reached out a hand to caress my cheek. “I didn’t need to. Sap’s got a huge purple bruise on his mouth and his chin. Something tells me you really CAN take care of yourself.” He laughed, and I laughed too.
“Well,” I huffed, “I told you so.”